Sunday, April 17, 2011

Please welcome special guest Sarah Ballance

Please welcome my next guest Sarah Ballance as part of the All Romantic Suspense Authors Blog Tour. Sarah is a fascinating victim, I meant author to interview. Amazing actually.

Sarah, please sit and relax. You home school your children and still find time to write? Kudos to you. I applaud you. Let the Interview begin....

Tell us about yourself, Sarah. Then how about something that hasn’t been previously stated? Maybe a phobia or pet peeve.

I'm a stay at home mom of six kids ranging in age from 12 years down to 10 months and we are a homeschooling family.  That said, I write because it gives me a reason to lock myself in a closet for a few minutes of *alone* time, lol.  My husband and I have been married for almost 14 absolutely wonderful years, and he's the best "research" partner in the world when it comes to the "good parts," as he calls them.  As an author, I am insanely, painfully shy.  The idea of being the center of attention horrifies me, so I'm grateful I can hide behind my computer.

What genre do you write and what genre would you love to try?

I've found my "dream genre" in romantic suspense.  I love putting together the crime, laying the clues, and toying with my characters in diabolical ways.  My first novel was romance and I'm working on a short story for charity that is a romance, but most of my work will stay in the romantic suspense genre.  When I wrote my first suspense, it felt as if that last little missing piece of me fell into place and I "found myself" in the author sense.

Tell us about what you've had published.

My first book, DOWN IN FLAMES, is a contemporary romance.  I turned the "sweet" HEA around a bit, and the novel ends on a rather awesome note of revenge—good-natured, but still very much a surprise at the end.  My second novel, RUN TO YOU, is a romantic suspense set on an off-season resort beach with a twisted killer and a mystery that's much deeper than it first appears.

Any works in progress?

I'm working on a series with three books to kick it off.  The first is called UNFORGIVEN and the plot centers around two old lovers who are reacquainted after he finds his brother murdered … and proof she pulled the trigger.  He greets her at gunpoint, and from there, things get a little wild. ;c) 

What's your inspiration?

I find inspiration for my stories in songs.  I didn't plan it that way and in fact didn't notice until recently, but each of my stories has a "theme song."  I don't borrow the plot of the story from the song lyrics; rather, the song captures the heart and the feel of the story.

What drives you as a writer?

I write for the feeling of accomplishment.  My "mom"  life is full of things that are never finished:  laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, and school work—all but the latter for a family of eight.  Whether I finish a scene, a chapter, or a book, it doesn't tend to undo itself the next time a tornado of kids pass through.  There are always edits, of course, but at some point I can call it done.  The "mom" thing, not so much.  (Not for a few years, anyway.)

How long have you been writing? 

I started writing fiction in 2008.  I'd written a bit of nonfiction for the extra income, and a friend suggested I try writing a novel.  My response was "I can't do that."  It hit me not long after that I'd said "I can't" and it didn't sit well with me.  I decided to give it a try, and DOWN IN FLAMES was the result. (Yep, my first work of fiction since grade school is out there for the world to see.) 

Do you have a dream man/cop/detective? Does he appear in your writing and if so, what does he look like?

My husband is my dream guy.  We act like a couple of teenagers, even though we're way, way older, LOL.  I can't help but think it helps to feel that squirmy first love feeling right along with my characters, and there's a bit of my H in every hero I write.  There's not a thing in this world I'd change about him and I find him mega hot in every possible way.  My heroes all have personalities of their own, but I bet if you asked me what my favorite qualities of each guy were, I'd name things I love about my hubby.

Please tell us what you are most passionate about outside of writing.

I love hanging out with my family.  We do a lot of things together.  Boating is probably the group favorite (we have a couple of boats and are building a couple more), but anything outdoors is nice because it gets me away from the computer.  I also decorate cakes and cross stitch.  (I'm a real party animal, huh?)

What makes you laugh? Cry?

I laugh about just about anything—the more inappropriate, the more likely I am to laugh.  Like when one of my kids ran over the other with a power wheels jeep, I think I was supposed to run over and make sure the one on the ground under the jeep was okay, but I turned my back and laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face (as did my husband).  I mean, c'mon.  We TOLD him to move.  Who stands in front of a three-year-old when she's behind the wheel?  (My six-year-old genius, that's who.)  Crying?  That can happen for absolutely no reason when I'm super stressed out.  As you can imagine, that happens on occasion around here.

What do you do to amuse yourself when not working?

I'm a full time writer (you know, when I manage to evade the kids) and when I'm not writing it's all about the house and the family.  I find ways to make that amusing, LOL.  Seriously, I've got a funny group.  We're always laughing.  And when I need a break, I read or go outside and play badminton.  It's easy to rock when you're playing a bunch of short people.

Sinful indulgence?

Ben and Jerry's Half Baked OR jalapeno potato chips with Coke or Dr. Pepper to wash 'em down.  Touch either one, my friends, and THAT is when I stop laughing.

Can you describe the time you realized you were indeed a "real" writer?

I don't think I even entertained the idea until after the release of my first novel.  (Yep, after.)  It probably really sank in after I receive the contract for my second book.  Suddenly I felt "in."  And on that note …

Readers, if you love author swag I've got plenty of prizes left to give away on the Noble Authors Blog Tour!  Every one of my remaining interviews on the tour—whether I'm hosting or guesting—is an opportunity to win promotional items, including RUN TO YOU shirts, DOWN IN FLAMES totes, and all sorts of other goodies.  Even better, every time you leave a comment with your email address you'll earn another entry into the grand prize drawing for a $100 gift certificate to EDEN FANTASYS.  Please visit for tour dates and further details.  Hope to see you there!

Sarah Ballance author links:

RUN TO YOU buy links: 


Mattie James can't pinpoint exactly when she lost control of her life, but the moment she decided to take it back made the front page of the local paper. Desperate to dodge the fallout— and the tabloids—she jumps at the chance to spend an off-season week in a tiny resort community by the sea. Making the trip with her ex-lover is a complication she can live with; coming face to face with a dead woman is not.

The last thing Sheriff Wyatt Reed expected to find on the storm-ravaged beach was a beautiful blonde with a jealous sidekick, but one look at Mattie left him wanting more. Their first date takes an ominous turn when he gets the call that a woman was found murdered. With a killer on the loose and a troubling lack of suspects or motive, Wyatt has to put his feelings aside to focus on the case. But his vow not to become personally involved is shattered when he discovers Mattie's life is on the line, and this time the truth leaves her with a deadly choice . . . and nowhere to run.


Wyatt didn’t say a word. He didn’t have to. As soon as they made it through the door, he pulled her as close as skin and clothing would allow. When his lips met hers, her mouth was already open to him. He was hungry, eager, and reckless with his need of this woman, and she matched him move for move.

He laced his fingers through hers and used the gentle hold to pin her arms over her head against the rough exterior of the building. The move left them both helpless to reach for more, but the suggestion of danger made him dizzy with desire. The way she bit her lip and whispered his name led him to believe she shared his excitement.

The night moved around them. The ocean waves washed the beach a couple of blocks to the east, the distant hush of the tide setting the pace for the ragged cadence of their breaths. Salt hung in the air, and unkempt dune grasses swished in a chorus under a star-studded sky. Music drifted from the bar on the heels of cigarette smoke. Mattie’s skin was fire against the cool night, and she tasted of beer and woman. The combination made him crazy.

She crooked her leg around his, sliding her bare calf and thigh against his own leg—a dangerous move with his limbs growing weaker by the second.

He released his grasp of her fingers and let his hands trail down the flesh of her arms, past the generous swell of her breasts and the feminine curve of her waist. When he got a little lower, he slipped his arms around her, lifting her off her feet.

She wrapped her legs around his hips, clinging to him like she was meant to be there all along. Her fingers caught in his hair; her soft cheek grazed his rough one.

He didn’t know how he made it across the sand without stumbling. He couldn't guess how he got the truck door open with her nibbling at his neck and his earlobes. He still didn’t know much of anything about her. He just knew that he wanted her, and the planets must have aligned up there somewhere because damned if she didn’t want him, too.

They still hadn’t spoken. Not since she’d sunk that last eight ball on Arnie, and now he couldn’t even remember what he’d said. He was fairly certain he hadn’t mentioned a quickie in the parking lot, but she’d accepted the unspoken invitation nonetheless. The little bit of denim between her legs did nothing to hide her arousal, and there wasn’t anything in the world that could hide the evidence of his need.

Effortlessly, he lifted her into the cab and let her fall backward on the bench seat. He climbed up after her and pushed between her legs, the ache of his erection antagonized when he felt her heat through their clothes.

She reached for him and fisted his shirt, pulling him on top of her. One kiss tumbled into another—a hot, seductive dance of tongues and need that left him on the verge of an explosion.

He found enough space between them to slide one hand under her shirt, and the softness of her skin taunted him. He took his revenge on her hard nipples, pinching and rolling one with his fingers and bringing his mouth down on the other through her shirt.

Mattie moaned and raked her fingers across his back. Desire shot through Wyatt as she worked her way to his abdomen, then ended in an explosion when she found his zipper and unbuttoned his pants.. He didn’t move his mouth off her shirt or release the breast he mauled through it when she grasped him. Wyatt didn't think; he sailed, letting the power of his need overwhelm him.

His cell phone rang, startling them both. Son of a bitch. Panting, he fumbled for it. Mattie didn’t relent her grasp, and he wished more than anything he didn’t have an obligation to answer the phone. Finally, he found it on the floor and glanced at the caller ID. Dwight.

He flipped the phone open and tried not to sound breathless, but Mattie still stroked him shamelessly, grinning like a cat.

"This better be good, Edmunds," he told the deputy by way of greeting.

"Good, bad, whatever you call it, it’s worth a phone call." Dwight sounded a little breathless himself. And distraught.

"What’s wrong?" Wyatt sat up, disengaging himself from Mattie’s grasp. For a moment, he wondered if the concern on her face was a reflection of his own and flashed her a quick expression of apology. So much for not playing sheriff for the night.

Dwight sounded like hell, though. Years of experience on the sleepy, crime-free island, and not once had a late-night call hit Wyatt with such urgency.

"You’d better get out here." Dwight paused as a siren wailed over the line. "There’s a dead woman on the beach, Sheriff, and this was no accident—she was murdered."


C. Zampa said...

Good morning, Cassie and Sarah!

Enjoyed your interview, and love your books, Sarah!

Looking foward to your newest!

Cassie Exline said...

Good morning, Carol, and thanks for stopping by.

Sarah Ballance said...

Zampa, Cassie, I'm disturbed by the both of you. Your time stamps are before 6 a.m. You mean there's a five *A.M.*? Yikes! LOL.

Thank you, Zampa, for the unending support. I'm really looking forward to getting the new project out there. (I need something new to beat my head against, LOL. That poor manuscript is as battered as they come!)

Thanks for hosting, Cassie! You've got a nice place around here. I'm going to try not to make too much of a mess, especially in light of your kind words. ;c)

Cassie Exline said...

The time must be Blogger's, it's 9 a.m. here on the east coast, although I am up before 5 a.m. There is also a 4 a.m. and a 3 a.m. lol

My place is your place, Sarah.

The Pick Pack said...

Great interview! I'm really craving some chips and soda right now....

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Pick and Pack. Have some of Sarah's chips and soda.

Sarah Ballance said...

HA! Yeah, I didn't see 6:01 a.m. this morning - I was SO asleep! (my comment time). I feel better, LOL! I've seen 3 a.m., but only BEFORE bed. *Giggle*

Pick pack, I'll share my chips but I'm watching you. Fair share, dude - seriously. *stares at you*

Savannah Chase said...

Hi Sarah, it is nice to meet you...Wow you have a large family...I think it is amazing that you can write and do everything that you do...wishing you all the best..

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Savannah. Sarah is another busy lady.

Sarah Ballance said...

Hi, Savannah! Thanks so much for your kind words. I'm glad you commented - it's great to "meet" you!

Carrie-Lynn said...

Another awesome interview Sarah. Everytime I see that exceprt, it makes me mourn not having a credit card, and not having the money to currently spend on books. I still blame you for teh broken book list though :)

Sarah Ballance said...

Aw, Carrie-Lynn, ME? LOL. Everything is my fault! *grumbles* ROFL. But at any rate, I think it sounds like a VERY good thing you don't have a credit card! ;c) Good to see you, girl.

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Carrie. Do come again.

Janice said...

Hi Sarah,

Love that cover. Great interview.

Sarah Ballance said...

Hi, Janice! Thanks so much. ;c) I appreciate your comment!

Cassie Exline said...

Thanks for stopping by, Janice. You're right, the cover is great.